Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Welcomes Watermelon- Striped Baby Red River Hog

August 18, 2022

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo keepers were greeted by a brand-new baby Red River hog in the early hours of Fri., Aug. 12. They had suspicions a baby was on the way, and their suspicions were confirmed when they found Red River hog mom, Zena, resting peacefully with her baby, who appears to be in good health.

“We are over the moon with excitement for this little one,” said Lauren Phillippi, lead keeper in African Rift Valley. “Red River hog babies are some of the cutest in the whole animal kingdom with their little stripes, tiny statures and energetic behaviors.”

The little hoglet is about the size of its mom’s snout. Red River hoglets are often described as having a watermelon pattern when they’re born. Just like adult Red River hogs, hoglets have he signature bright orange coats, but the babies also have brown and white stripes that run the length of their bodies, along with little brown and white spots all over. Those stripes and spots usually fade in around six months, but act as important camouflage in the meantime.

Eight-year-old Zena’s keepers say she has embraced her hoglet with all of the key behaviors they want to see from a second-time mom. The baby is nursing regularly, Zena nuzzles and cleans the baby, and the baby gets ‘zoomies’ in the comfort of their indoor den. Red River hoglets are sometimes described as looking like wind-up toys, because they get bursts of energy that send them running circles around their mothers. The baby’s sex has not been identified and likely won’t be for another few weeks. In keeping with CMZoo tradition, the baby likely won’t be named for at least 30 days.

This is Zena’s second hoglet, after Pinto, who was born at CMZoo in April 2021. Zena came to CMZoo on a breeding recommendation with Huey, CMZoo’s 15-year-old male Red River hog. Huey has been a great father to Pinto, and four others. Red River hog fathers, unlike many species, are active in raising their young. For now, Zena and baby will get time to bond alone, while Huey and Pinto spend time together in their indoor and outdoor spaces.

Follow CMZoo’s social media channels for updates on when Zena and the hoglet will make their public debut.

About Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Cheyenne Mountain Zoological Society was founded in 1926. Today, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, America’s mountain Zoo, offers comprehensive education programs, exciting conservation efforts and ruly fantastic animal experiences. In 2022, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was voted #3 Best Zoo in North America and CMZoo’s Rocky Mountain Wild was named #2 Best Zoo Exhibit in North America by USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards. It is Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s goal to help guests fall in love with animals and nature, and take action to protect them. Since 2008, CMZoo’s Quarters for Conservation program has raised $4 million dedicated to frontline conservation efforts around the world. Of the 239 zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is one of just a few operating without tax support. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo depends on admissions, membership dues, special event attendance and donations for funding.